To major in religion (i.e., religious studies) means to pursue the academic study of religion from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives, including anthropology, archaeology, history, philosophy, sociology, and textual analysis. Because religion is deeply implicated in history, culture, politics, and literature, the study of religion is critical to understanding and explaining complex global issues in both the past and the present. One does not have to be “religious” or “spiritual” to study religion, nor is the study of religion directed toward establishing the truth of one religion over another. Because religious studies is an interdisciplinary field of study, students may use the major in religion in many different ways, including preparation for graduate school, as a second major in a program of study leading to a career in business, health-care, or teaching, as well as personal enrichment. In addition to a number of professional options, the basic intellectual purpose of religious studies is to develop an appreciation for, an understanding of, and a critical insight into the rich variety of the world’s religious and spiritual traditions in the complex global realities of the twenty-first century.
Beyond the general requirements for the B.A. degree, a major in religion consists of a minimum of 30 credit hours in the field, of which at least 18 hours must be in upper division courses. The department requires of all religion majors the following courses: Introduction to World Religions (RELI 1010); two courses regarding scriptural traditions from the list of courses between RELI 2100 and RELI 2189; Methods and Phenomena of Religious Studies (RELI 3010); and Senior Seminar in Religion (RELI 4010), which is the third writing course.